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Which bike for long commute?

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Which bike for long commute?

Old 09-08-18, 04:03 AM
  #1  
ICH
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Which bike for long commute?

I've been biking to work for 12 years now. Until now I've never worked more than 11km form my home. This year, I'm a teacher, I'm working 27 to 32 km away from home, depends on the route I choose. The shortest has some cobbles and two hard ramps. The longest is all tarmac but on a somewhat narrow road with a long (4km), although not steep, climb. I've been using a 26 old mtb. But for the distance this year I'm looking for other options. The first 2 days tried a 29er aluminium with 2.1 mtb tyres, the thing rode like it was glued to the ground. On the third day I took my road bike (it is an old aluminium Scott Speedster S5) and the ride was enjoyable. Looking to buy a bike but I am on a really tight budget.
Thought about buying this used 29er fit road tyres and maybe a rigid fork. And maybe someday drop handlebars. Do you think this is an ok base for improvements or would I be wasting my money?
https://www.olx.pt/anuncio/bicicleta...tml#c1b822b31f
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Old 09-08-18, 06:00 AM
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If I were you, I would look for a fitness/hybrid/dualsport with the ability for 35mm or wider tires. If you could happen to find a gravel bike within your budget, I believe it would be ideal. Personally, I much prefer drop bars when my commute extends beyond 10 miles.
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Old 09-08-18, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ICH View Post
Do you think this is an ok base for improvements or would I be wasting my money?
https://www.olx.pt/anuncio/bicicleta...tml#c1b822b31f
Bad idea, way overbuilt for your needs.
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Old 09-08-18, 07:01 AM
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I've commuted daily for now approaching 20 years. You want the fastest bike possible, which definitely does not include anything with suspension or fat tires or knobby tires. You want the lightest bike possible, particularly the wheels. The constant start/stopping in the city on a bike with heavy wheels is misery.

I'm now on a recent Specialized Allez road bike, which has a reasonably light frame and component set, and yet is relatively cheap. The wheels are heavyweights with thick 25mm tires. Definitely not race-ready, but I haven't had a flat in months, despite long rides over loose gravel and sand.
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Old 09-08-18, 08:24 AM
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I strongly recommend something with drop bars. For a commute that long, you really need the option to streamline and get your body out of the wind.

You don’ t need to be in the drops all the time, of course, so make sure that you configure the bike to be comfortable when grasping the hoods.
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Old 09-08-18, 08:31 AM
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I would optimize the Scott for the commute (racks and fenders).
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Old 09-08-18, 10:46 AM
  #7  
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Drop bars and road gearing, but wider, not thinner tires. And smooth, supple tires, NO KNOBBIES...maybe 700x38 for the cobbles.
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Old 09-08-18, 11:04 AM
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I recently swapped out 1,300 gram race-ready tubular wheels to the wider and heavier wheels on my Allez commuter bike.

These wheels have wider rims, which is apparently the latest fad, and 25mm tires which look more like 28s.

Anyway, the new wheels are heavy, unresponsive pigs, which I only suffer with because I am regularly riding long stretches of gravel and rooty trails in the middle of nowhere, and I don't want to be jumped by a bear while changing a flat.

If anyone can explain to me why I would need fatter tires on a road bike?

​​​​​​​The new wheels are slow....
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Old 09-08-18, 11:13 AM
  #9  
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I'd second just using your Scott Speedster.

https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/Sear...37&model=57178

I suppose it depends a bit on the cobbles. When I was in Parma years ago, they had these giant granite cobbles. And, I was younger... and rode my road bike on them like a maniac.

The smaller cobbles weren't nearly as bad.

If you do want a new bike, perhaps look for an older aluminum cyclocross bike such as the Specialized Tricross. You should be able to use a little larger tires (28mm to 32mm if you wish), and fenders if you wish.
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Old 09-09-18, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post

If anyone can explain to me why I would need fatter tires on a road bike?
In a word; comfort. I’ve been commuting by bicycle for too long to be riding each way like it’s a time trial. I cannot imagine a worse way for me to commute than on an aluminum framed, skinny tired, speed machine. Ok, maybe stuck in traffic in a car would be worse. So yeah, I’d definitely get home faster. Probably by several minutes. But the trade off (for me) is not even close to worth it. I have a 90’s steel Allez. It’s my speed machine, weekend toy. I’ve commuted with it as a Plan B bike, but it’s not fun after a few days. It’s too... sporty.

I like plush. Comfortable. You know, a longer wheelbase, slower handling practical transportation bike. There are practical benefits too, like longer tire life, less flats, longer wheel and spoke life. I’m at end-of-life on a set of 38’s and I’m shopping for a set of 42’s. Seriously. I do about 28 miles a day, and if I’m gonna do that for the long term I gotta be comfortable. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

To the OP’s original post, that GT is not something I would consider for a commute of the distance you’re describing. True, there are many who can rack up lots of miles on flat bar bikes, but the kind of mileage you’re looking at really falls closer to a drop bar, touring bike scenario. Focus on fit, comfort and durability because that’s what’s going to matter for the long run.


-Kedosto
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Old 09-10-18, 03:22 AM
  #11  
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The reason I'm considering a new bike is to keep the road and mtb bikes I have to do that my road and mtb rides at the weekend. Although I don't know if I will have the energy to do so after +50km a day 4 days a week.
I was thinking about changing the tyres on the GT to 28s or 32s and also rigid fork and drop bars. In Portugal it isn't easy to find 2nd hand gravel bikes.
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Old 09-10-18, 06:01 AM
  #12  
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Converting to drop bar will require you to get brifters. Those plus a new fork will greatly help to quickly help double your investment into that bike. Maybe rather shop around for a bike in the 450-550eur range that is closer to your desire. What is the used market looking like?
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Old 09-10-18, 06:34 AM
  #13  
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Been shopping around and these are the figures I expect to transform the GT: Bike300Avid BB7100rigis Fork110Drop handlebar30Levers 160
Am I leaving something out?
This all sums 700€. I am hoping to bargain down the price of the bike. On this price range I can't find a decent gravel bike the ones I've seen, new ones, on this price range have bad mechanical disk brakes according to reviews.
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Old 09-10-18, 11:08 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by ICH View Post
Been shopping around and these are the figures I expect to transform the GT: Bike300Avid BB7100rigis Fork110Drop handlebar30Levers 160
Am I leaving something out?
This all sums 700€. I am hoping to bargain down the price of the bike. On this price range I can't find a decent gravel bike the ones I've seen, new ones, on this price range have bad mechanical disk brakes according to reviews.
Before you get too deep into a commitment to convert a flat bar bike into a drop bar bike, you should know that the frame geometry is quite different between the two handlebar styles. Drop bar bikes have longer top tubes by design, and extending the reach with the addition of drop bars may make the reach too far for comfort. You might be able to compensate with a shorter stem, but often times a shorter stem still won't fix a reach problem. Then there's the change in handling that comes from very short stems; some riders don't mind, but the steering can be felt as too sensitive by many. Next, you're considering changing a rigid fork for a suspension fork. Such a change requires a "suspension corrected" fork which will take into account the extended length of a suspension fork to maintain frame geometry. Without accounting for the original frame geometry, you'll be changing the head tube angle -- and not in a good way. Finally, road bike brifters don't typically work with flat bar style derailleurs. So it's a virtual guarantee you'll need new fr/rr derailleurs. You see where this is going, yes?

In almost every scenario, you're better off buying a drop bar bike rather than spending the money to convert. A new, entry level Specialized Allez or Dolce start at $800 (MSRP) and can probably be had for less. For that amount you get a design specific road bike with no fit compromises. I'm sure there are other reputable brands at even lower entry level price points. By the time you bring together the components to convert the GT, you'll essentially be paying $300+ for a frame and cranks, and honestly, they're not worth it. It's an especially bad investment when you consider the compromises you're likely to experience with the fit. Usually, the only time a Frankenbike conversion is worthwhile is when the builder already has a collection of salvaged parts laying around and cobbles something together. It almost always requires a certain amount of fiddling and mechanical expertise to bring together dissimilar parts as well. If this describes you or your situation, then by all means go for it. Otherwise, proceed with caution (IMHO).


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Old 09-20-18, 02:32 PM
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I used to commute that distance. I used a touring bike with wider tires and it was quick and comfortable. Suggest looking for a used Trek 520 - can often be found near new if purchased for the big tour that never happened. Easily takes fenders and a rack, easy maintenance and nice wide tires (for a road bike).
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Old 09-25-18, 05:45 AM
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I commute similar distance 25 to 35 to work (one-way) depending the road I take. I first got a road hybrid Dynamic Tempo 8 (a long story why I prefer a shaft-drived bikes) but while I went to work fast (around an hour ride) don't like it for bad roads or gravel roads - too narrow tires and too lightweight wheel/frame and my hands hurt from all the bumps and being in forward position all the time. I do not like mountain bikes since they're bad on the road, so I got a "classic" city commuter bike in Brik Brut 8 and it's been the best so far traversing 50+km days - my body feels much better after riding that distance, I adjusted the classic semi-straight handlebars just right so I'm a bit forward for more aggressive pedaling when needed, but upright enough that my hands don't take the load all the time and it's a comfty ride, a proper Brooks saddle maybe the secret too. I lose around 3-5 minutes compared to Tempo per 50km, but for me it's well worth it in terms of ride quality and ride enjoyment.

Just an idea to try classic city commuting bikes that aren't advertised as long distance haulers, but can be surprisingly good ones at that.
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Old 09-25-18, 06:08 AM
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Hi ICH!

I usually try to go to Portugal (usually Lisboa) and drink Imperials in the sun

I'm making a big assumption here based on talking to my professor friends at the IQTB. My assumption is that cost of living has increased much faster than the wages and a €1K bike would be a huge purchase.

Also, this forum is most Americans who hasn't really been around Europe that much.

I would recommend a bike from Decathlon, which makes great/inexpensive combos.

Take a look through the BICICLETAS ESTRADA here:

https://www.decathlon.pt/C-1619203-b...estrada/T-7105

The 100 is quite good for €250

and the 500 is really good for €400

https://www.decathlon.pt/bicicleta-e...d_8379069.html

If you can splurge ... Shimano SORA is excellent for that money:

https://www.decathlon.pt/bicicleta-e...d_8377757.html

€550 is an excellent price for that rig.

To my American friends out there ... that works out to €550 = $687 - 23% tax = $555.

I'd say that's quite solid ... any of those three options will work well.

I don't have any personal experience with Microshift but haven't heard bad things either. (Middle option at €400.)
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Old 09-25-18, 06:21 AM
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Actually that cheap bike gets a lot of love as a gravel bike.

https://www.decathlon.pt/pt/pageReviews?productId=8377732&collaborator=0


From a German:


Überraschend Gut


Selbst für schnelle sportliche Einheiten super geeignet. Innbergigen Gegenden fehlt dann aber doch der eine oder andere Gang. Für Berlin Brandenburg kein Problem. Die leichteste Übersetzung reicht für 10% Steigung aus. Alles weitere abhängig vom Nutzer ;-) Die Gänge schalten schnell und zuverlässig. Als Crosser auch auf Abwägen gut geeignet. Den schwersten Gang habe ich bisher nur Berg ab gebraucht. Die Gänge scheinen mir gut aufgeteilt.

Ich mache Triathlon und fahre Rennrad sportlich versiert. Besitze mehrere Rennräder im Profi Bereich und kann dieses günstige Rad absolut empfehlen für den Alltag und sportliche Ausfahrten.

That's pretty solid right there.

Last edited by acidfast7; 09-25-18 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 09-25-18, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I would optimize the Scott for the commute (racks and fenders).
me too. & I'd mount up some 28mm Armadillos if Specialized still makes them
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Old 09-25-18, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ICH View Post
Thought about buying this used 29er fit road tyres and maybe a rigid fork. And maybe someday drop handlebars. Do you think this is an ok base for improvements or would I be wasting my money?
https://www.olx.pt/anuncio/bicicleta...tml#c1b822b31f
It's extremely expensive to switch between upright bars and drop bars. The problem is that the shifters are mechanical and work differently between the 2 systems. Drop bar shifters are some of the most expensive things on the bike, then you also have to deal with new cables, and either new derailers and gears or an adapter...which is also expensive.

I'm a bit confused by your post, why aren't you just planning on riding the road bike you already have?
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Old 09-25-18, 03:04 PM
  #21  
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Sounds like the addition of a good gravel bike with 32mm tires would serve you well.
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Old 09-28-18, 01:39 AM
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Went to a decathlon store when I was in London. They had serviceable bikes like you might find at dicks sporting goods in the USA only maybe a tick higher end. I miss london.
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Old 09-28-18, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I would optimize the Scott for the commute (racks and fenders).
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I'd second just using your Scott Speedster.

https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/Sear...37&model=57178
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
me too. & I'd mount up some 28mm Armadillos if Specialized still makes them
I would also suggest using the Scott if you are on tight budge. Drop bar conversions are rarely a good idea, especially if you want to save money.
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Old 09-28-18, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
I would optimize the Scott for the commute (racks and fenders).
+1 Maybe add 25mm Conti Gatorskin tires. If 28 mm fit, then go with them.
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Old 09-28-18, 06:21 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by 52telecaster View Post
Went to a decathlon store when I was in London. They had serviceable bikes like you might find at dicks sporting goods in the USA only maybe a tick higher end. I miss london.
Move over

I'm sitting in the office right now waiting for my permanent residence application to be approved (ILR). Then I'm a free agent and can move into the financial sector, form a start up and wind down my professorship.

Decathlon sells some good **** cheap and those bikes are excellent value for money for commuting.
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